MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you lead a team during a time of transition? is written by Donna Wiederkehr, CMO of Dentsu Aegis Network.
Transition used to be something companies weathered from time to time. Leadership teams would shift, businesses would merge, and things would settle into a new normal — at least until the next big change. In today’s convergent business landscape, change is the only thing that is constant.
I have the privilege of working at a company that is committed to intentionally disrupting the marketplace and driving change. It’s been a powerful strategy that has helped us grow two times the rate of the industry. Through this I have come to believe that strong leaders need to focus on four things:
Have a clear vision
At the heart of every successful brand is a clear vision and purpose. During times of change, it becomes more important than ever to keep this vision at the forefront. It should serve as the company’s compass.
Articulate the vision
You need to articulate that vision in a clear, concise way. Each person at the company needs to understand what the vision is and how it impacts what they do, as well as how they can contribute to its success.
Give your teams a reason to believe
With all industries and businesses in a state of near-constant evolution, transitions can often make employees feel insecure. Your teams need to believe that your vision is a strong move forward, which is why it’s critical that you give them reasons to believe. In doing so, they will be able to articulate its positive potential to their peers and to their teams. When the vision is something everyone is invested in, the probability of personal and corporate success increases.
Use transitions for inspiration, not just explanation
There is a difference between simply understanding your company’s vision and truly being inspired by it, so it’s important to speak to the heart as well as to the head. The way you communicate with your teams before, during and after critical moments of transition can make the difference between change being perceived as a chance for powerful business transformation versus an uncomfortable, negative or unnecessary decision. Each transition is part of a broader, bolder vision for your company, so use every moment to inspire your teams. Demonstrate to them how change can empower the entire team to reimagine the business and develop innovative and exciting new products, strategies and business solutions.
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